Unlocking the value of first-party data at the Super Bowl

Unlocking the value of first-party data at the Super Bowl
Ben Cicchetti
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

This weekend, two teams and over 70,000 football fans will travel to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida. As will the eyes of millions of people across the world. 

Like many worldwide sporting events, huge amounts of data will be collected during Super Bowl weekend. But who are the players in the advertising ecosystem this weekend, and what data do they have access to?

Alone, each of these parties owns a snapshot of customer interaction and behavior. But what could each achieve if they could combine insights across these silos -- while respecting data privacy?

Brands and broadcasters improve targeting

Every year we all have our favorite Super Bowl commercial (I’m a Doritos fan myself), but the average cost for one of these ads is reported to be over $5M for just 30 seconds of airtime. For marketers, deciding to run an advert during the Super Bowl takes a lot of planning. It’s important for the brand to understand if the audience watching the Super Bowl is on-target for them, and to forecast the level of exposure and engagement they can expect following the ad.

Following the event, it’s then important to be able to measure success. Currently, a brand can do this to a limited degree, by simply measuring an up-lift in sales. But that does not tell the whole story. 

As reported by TechCrunch, last year's Super Bowl was streamed on an estimated 7.5 million devices. The level of data is gathered through streaming services and both OTT and CTV devices are significantly better than from traditional TV alone. Therefore, by bringing together the brand’s customer data and the broadcaster’s audience data, brands can plan more effective marketing by comparing their current customers to the broadcaster’s known audience.

But how to bring these data sources together, safely?

InfoSum’s unique approach to data onboarding enables each broadcaster to make both online and offline data (including their various OTT and streaming services) available for statistical analysis. These demographic and behavioral insights can be analyzed by brands to understand the potential reach the Super Bowl provides. This analysis can be used to plan their advertising and then attribution following the event. 

Following the advertising campaign, InfoSum’s deterministic identity resolution makes it possible for the broadcaster to make viewership data available for brands to compare their new customer data against, and directly attribute new sales to their Super Bowl ads. All without having shared the underlying data.

Teams and stadium sponsor improve customer targeting 

With an investment of $250M for the naming rights of the Miami Dolphin’s home stadium, Hard Rock Cafe International has the opportunity to raise their brand awareness on a worldwide stage. But more specifically, given the data Hard Rock has on their customers, and that the data each team will hold on ticket holders who attended the game, there is an opportunity for a targeted and personalized campaign following the Super Bowl.

As an international restaurant, casino and hotel chain, Hard Rock Cafe will hold significant data on its customers. This information will include travel habits, home locations and more, all connected to the individual’s email address.

Separately, each of the teams at the Super Bowl will hold data on both fans in attendance and their fans across the world, again likely connected to the fan’s email address.

Imagine the possibilities of overlaying each of the team’s fan data with the Hard Rock Cafe’s customer data. There is potential for targeted email campaigns and promotions to both the winning and losing teams to either celebrate and commiserate their team’s performance at their local Hard Rock Cafe.

With the InfoSum platform, this intersection analysis can be completed in a privacy-safe environment where neither Hard Rock Cafe, the 49ers or the Chiefs have to move their customer data to any other party. Individuals can be deterministically matched on the PII data each party holds and then flagged for targeting. 

This ensures no data is passed between parties and enables the Hard Rock Cafe to target their own customers, and enables each of the teams to send out email campaigns to their customer base on the Hard Rock Cafe’s behalf. This is just one example of affinity marketing that can be put to work safely with tools like InfoSum.

Finally, for their $250M investment in the naming rights for the Miami Dolphin’s stadium, it is incredibly helpful to understand the brand awareness that those four hours of football generated, and the demographics that make up that audience. By conducting statistical analysis across the 49ers and the Chiefs fan data, they can determine to what extent the Super Bowl helped them raise awareness amongst their core customer base.

Broadcasters and league demonstrate advertising value

As we’ve mentioned, a single 30-second advertising spot at the Super Bowl costs upwards of $5M. A significant investment for any brand looking to tap into that engaged audience. And with an approx. audience size of 100M in the US alone, that cost can be justified on reach alone. 

But with more potential marketing channels than ever before, many of which can provide similar audience reach levels, brands need to justify this financial commitment every year and broadcasters need to justify the ever-higher price for this time. One way that both the broadcaster and the league can do this, is by providing more detail on the audience that $5M investment opens up.  

Broadcasters hold significant audience data, both across their traditional channels, as well as their streaming services. This data can provide important demographic and behavioral information on their audience.

Separately, the league holds a large amount of demographic data themselves. This data is driven by both their own streaming service, NFL Game Pass, as well as their various owned channels, including nfl.com and nflshop.com. This data can provide a detailed insight into the demographic breakdown of the NFL fan base.

Imagine the insight the NFL and their broadcast partners could provide if they were able to share these insights with brands and advertisers to compare against their customer base.

Using the InfoSum Platform, both the broadcaster and the NFL can onboard their various data sources (offline and online) and enable advertisers to conduct statistical analysis across the virtually combined data sources, a Unified Audience View. This unified insight would enable advertisers to instantly understand the potential audience available to them and how it intersects with their existing customer base. 

Additionally, the demographic makeup of the audience can help inform their creative plans. And finally, the broadcaster is able to use this new insight to justify their ad rates and rights holders can justify their license fees.

The Super Bowl is a worldwide event, enjoyed by over a hundred million people in the US, and an additional 60M people across the globe. As fans, we want to have the best experience possible, and we accept that with such an event comes the “business” of the game. 

But 2020 looks to be the start of a new privacy-first era in the advertising industry, with legislation such as CCPA in place to protect how businesses use our data. Therefore it is vital that the companies looking to use data power their advertising and measure return on investment, do so in a way that puts fan privacy first. 

InfoSum’s federated approach ensures that every business is able to get value out of the various data sources available while ensuring data is never been shared between companies during analysis, and our use of differential privacy techniques ensures that individuals are never exposed.

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